Ind. tornado siren spooks horses, spurs lawsuit
MARTINSVILLE, Ind. (AP) -- A tornado siren placed near an Indiana horse farm has prompted a lawsuit by the owners, who say the device spooks their animals every time it sounds and that local officials have refused to relocate it as promised.
Jody and Daniel Owens say they met with Jackson Township Trustee Dan Broyer in 2009 after learning the siren would be placed next to their property and were assured that it would be mounted on a tower so the sound would travel over their property. They said Broyer also told them the device would be moved if it caused an issue with their horses.
The Owenses told The Reporter-Times that the siren instead was installed on a utility pole and that the horses panic and have broken through the doors of their stables when it sounds, posing a danger to the animals and their handlers.
"It just throws them into that rage of running for their lives," Jody Owens said. "I don't know if they would ever get used to it as loud as it is. Horses can adapt to different things, but not when it's so inconsistent and as loud as it is. They can't see where it's coming from, so they just run because they don't know what's going to get them."
Broyer said he hadn't seen the lawsuit but that the couple had enlisted three different attorneys over the past year to discuss the issue.
"I talked to two on the phone. Those attorneys dropped the case," he said.
The Owenses' lawsuit, filed in Morgan County Superior Court I, seeks to have Broyer pay court costs plus $106,265, which the suit claims is the amount an appraiser certified the Owens' property value had diminished because of the siren.
"We just can't go on with the tornado siren. One of them is going to have to go, and we really don't want to have to change our lifestyle," Jody Owens said.
Jackson Township attorney Dale Coffey said he would have about three weeks to issue a written response to the court once Broyer was served with the lawsuit.